Ah, here’s an old one.
Mario Paint was released in 1992 for the Super Nintendo. I got the game with my Super Nintendo as a Christmas gift when I was in 2nd grade. Video games were my thing, but I didn’t have very many of them, so I played the ones that I did have perhaps a little bit too much.
Let’s take a look at the Mario Paint canvas.
The very bottom right icon is a general flip tool that allows you to mirror the contents of something horizontally, vertically, or both. Just click the icon to cycle through the different choices:
One time when I was playing, I noticed four additional options that allow for the same mirrors to be used, but at a 90-degree rotation.
After resetting the game once, these extra options were gone. What happened to enable these extra options? I never saw them again. I did keep an eye out for hints from other places for some sort of code that allowed them to be used. Even after the rise of the Internet, I would check online from time to time to see if anyone else had found a way to do this or at least wondered about it. I was quite sure that I didn’t imagine it, and surely someone else had noticed this before. Alas, nothing.
Today, this came to my mind again so I did a little more Googling. I ran across a thread that has been sitting around since 2010. Someone found these rotation options buried in the code and could switch them on by setting a specific value in memory. Then someone else found out what you have to do to enable them without a hack. (Then someone else posted two years later, who was just like me and had run across this long ago a single time but never found out how.)
Here’s how to make it work. When you start Mario Paint, you’re taken to the title screen. Each letter in the title causes a clever animation or effect to play. Clicking on the “N” causes the credits to roll.
Wait until Noriaki Teramoto’s name appears (it is the second credit), then hold down the right mouse button and left-click on the “N” again to stop the credits. Then click on Mario to start the game as usual. Ta da! The rotation options mentioned above are revealed.
Easy, yet well hidden. Very clever, Noriaki Teramoto. I must have done this by accident one time, back in the day.
This action also causes a few other things to happen. You can right-click anywhere on the canvas to activate the “undo” feature. Also, you can right-click in the stamp editor to sample a color.
A childhood mystery resolved, 20 years later. :-)